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Snippet from Shadows in the Stone:
Bronwyn caught her studying him as he regained his breath. Besides her frazzled appearance and cut below her right eye, she seemed fine. Her deep breathing caused her bosom to gently rise and fall, drawing his eyes to the soft hollow between her breasts. A button appeared to have broken off in the scuffle, revealing soft curves of delicate skin. His blood warmed and the tiny hairs on his ears pricked. He swallowed hard, realising his gaze had lingered too long. He quickly looked at the stone wall. “Thank you for casting the spell to protect me.” His voice sounded gentler than he expected. He looked back at her. “You risked your life for mine.”
“It’s I who must thank you for seeing the truth. I’m not a traitor.” She pulled the top of her shirt closed and fastened a button.
“I know.” He forced himself to look away though her eyes attempted to hold his gaze. “I knew you couldn’t kill me.” He glanced at the dagger in her hand. “But you almost had me doubting.” He held out his hand for his weapon.
“Don’t.” Alaura returned the dagger. “I spoke the truth.”
“It’s not wise to stake your life on blind trust.”
“But you’re not blind.”
Bronwyn nodded and sheathed the dagger. Until today, he had never stood within twenty feet of Alaura of Niamh. It surprised him, the details he’d missed at a distance. Looking at her now, he saw the subtle differences: the curve of her cheek bone, the upward angle to the outside of the eye, the sharpness of her ears and the defined shape of her lips.
He thought back to the first time he’d seen her. He had passed through the bakery to his dwelling upstairs—he still lived at home then. As he entered the backroom, he thought he had seen a person talking with his mum on the far end of the shop. He stepped backwards and craned his neck to learn their identity. For a moment he stared at the woman. She appeared new to Maskil or at least not from this end of town.
She must have felt his stare because her eyes left his mum and settled on him. Her expression softened and her mouth curved into a gentle smile. A light he’d never seen before shimmered in her eyes. It triggered a sensation in his chest which until then lay dormant.
From that moment onward, Bronwyn looked for Alaura in the bakery, on the street and at every place he visited. Strange how she possessed the ability to capture and hold his attention.
Pulling himself from his memories, he noticed Alaura uncomfortable under his stare. With her lips slightly parted and her brow in a quizzical angle, she watched him.
“I’m sorry for putting you on the spot,” she said. “I thought you had paid attention to Lord Val. He had asked you to verify the fact I knew Catriona. I assumed you could since you had seen us together in the bakery.”
Bronwyn bit his lip. He could have easily answered the question if she hadn’t distracted him. “You’re not to blame. I should have followed the conversation. I was thinking of someone—something else.”
“It’s been a trying twenty-four hours for many of us.” Alaura looked down the hallway. “We should see to Catriona and Isla.” She stepped over the pool of blood, seeping from the body sprawled at their feet.
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